"The eyes of a warrior never stray from the spectacle of battle." Ryu - Street Fighter III
After Apple Podcasts has decided to introduce monetization for creators, I’ll admit I had a mini existential crisis. As a reminder, a few months ago I’ve decided to launch Uncut.fm, a professional podcasting platform where independent creators can take their podcast to the next level: build their brand, monetize their content and form deeper connections with their audience.
After a good night’s sleep, a walk with my dog at the Golden Gate Park and and a long talk with one of my contacts at Apple, I’m actually thankful for this development and feel pumped up.
Apple’s announcement validates our market. The announcement was inevitable, and while it came sooner than we expected, it’s a lagging indicator that the “creator economy” for podcasting is indeed here.
Podcasting has reached a critical mass in terms of number of consistent creators (~250,000), podcasts (~2,000,000) and episodes (~50,000,000). Podcasters are desperate to monetize their content. Apple is sending a clear signal that the promise of visibility and listenership is no longer enough. Creators want to be paid and consumers are ready to pay them.
Apple’s commission structure helps our value proposition resonate. Sometimes the quickest growth happens when you define yourself “against” something. With Apple asking for 30% of a creator’s revenue, we’re able to position ourselves as the clear, platform-agnostic, creator-friendly alternative.
Of course, Apple has some undeniable advantages. They remain the #1 podcast player, have strong consumer trust and credit cards in hand. This makes monetization relatively seamless. But they also have clear disadvantages too.
Even though Apple has 1b iOS devices and Apple Podcasts is installed on each of those devices, not everyone uses their app. Android users are much more numerous. Every day, Spotify's market share in podcasting is growing. This could become a "Netflix vs. Prime Video” scenario and frustrate consumers as well.
The majority of creators will push back against a 30% commission. Even so, Apple can't lower it because the whole App Store world is based on this 30% commission (Apps, Media, Games...). Some creators will still buy into the promise and grow disillusioned when they realize the whole system is still based off traditional power dynamics. 30% is a huge sum for the creator middle class.
Creators are recognizing the importance of owning your audience, but Apple will never offer its creators ownership of audience data (especially the personal data of subscribers.) Everything remains anonymous. Creators using Apple’s platform to monetize will always be compromising by "renting" access to their audience.
One way to look at this is: our playing field has been clearly defined.
Now it’s up to us at Uncut to define ourselves as a clear alternative and use those weaknesses to our advantage by proposing a solution that is:
Adheres to a creator-friendly business model
Guarantees maximum ownership of both content and audience
Our company roadmap remains clear. We stand firm. We ride the wave, and we continue to develop a great product that guarantees podcasters complete ownership of their content, their audience and their business (Substack for Audio).
What makes Uncut truly special is that creators retain 100% of the value they create: their audience, their data and the business that goes with it.
At Uncut.fm, we believe you shouldn't have to choose between owning your work and getting rewarded for it.We’re building a world where content ownership will shift away from platforms and back to creators themselves.
If you’re a creative and an independent podcaster, we’d love you to join our movement.
By the way, WE ARE HIRING in case you are up to the fight!